Finding the right school bag is key when it comes to kitting out your child’s school wardrobe.
Whether they’re getting ready to start a new school year, or indeed a new school, they’re going to need something that ticks the box for both style and practicality when it comes to carting all their belongings around.
Thankfully, there are lots of options out there, including a raft of styles that are new in for 2022. Before you buy a school bag, consider which functions are essential and which are nice-to-haves. A school bag with a laptop compartment might be key for an older child, for example, while a matching range of items – like pencil cases and water bottles – is likely to go down well with younger kids.
What should I look for when choosing a school bag?
Depending on the age of your child, there’s a good chance it’ll be them – not you – doing the choosing. But once they’ve settled on a style they like, it’s worth ticking a few boxes to make sure it does what it needs to. If you want it to last them through the school year, for example, pay attention to whether it’s waterproof.
Rucksacks and backpacks are the top choice for school bags because they’re so easy to carry and the straps distribute weight evenly across the shoulders. Not all rucksack straps are created equal, though, so check for plenty of padding, and consider a cross-body satchel or book bag as an alternative for young children. Whatever style of school bag you go for, get them to try it on for size if you can.
Speaking of size, make sure what you’re buying is going to fit all their belongings in. If you want to fit a rain mac, a lunch box, a water bottle, pencil case, and a tonne of books in, for example, you’re going to need a bag that’s up to the job.
Preschoolers and primary-age children will need something smaller of course, as it’s likely they’ll want to carry their bag independently and a full-sized rucksack will probably swamp them. Older children bringing a laptop or A4 folders to school, meanwhile, will need a bag with dimensions to match.
Shop the best school bags below
Hype Multi Coloured Graffiti Drip BTS Bundle
Hype does some brilliant back-to-school bundles and we can’t get enough of this one. You get a school bag, lunch box, pencil case and aluminium drinks bottle, all in an eye-catching paint splatter design.
The brand’s range of unisex bags are a more rounded shape than the rectangular rucksacks we tested, and they feel nice and roomy inside. There’s no internal pocket, just one main compartment and a front pocket. And while there are no bottle holders on the side, there’s one on the thermal-lined lunchbox. With the pencil case and bottle factored in, this is a great bundle at a very wallet-friendly price.
Buy now £64.99, Hype
Next Gamer Backpack
For the mini-gamer, this backpack from Next will go down well whatever their latest obsession. Black with blue and purple accents, it’s covered in a bold gaming headsets and controllers across the front, sides, and straps, with a plain black and lightly padded back.
The netted side pockets have enough stretch to fit a standard water bottle in, and the front pocket can house a regular pencil case. There’s also a pocket in the main compartment for a laptop or A4 paperwork in, so this rucksack could work for all age groups. We particularly like the fact the colour won’t show the dirt easily, and the reinforced and grippy base is a small but clever detail.
Buy now £21.00, Next
Superdry Unisex Printed Montana Rucksack
Superdry has a whole range of new rucksacks that are perfect for older kids and teens entering the new school term. The Unisex Printed Montana Rucksack comes in several different prints, and we particularly like the leopard – which teams a bold patternwith a muted brown colour scheme.
At 46cm high, this is the biggest of the bags we tested, and there’s oodles of room in the main compartment, meaning this could double up as an overnight bag for sleepovers. There’s a laptop sleeve and a zipped internal pocket in here too, and the zipped front pocket on the outside is also a decent size. Last but not least, the base is reinforced – which will keep it looking new for longer.
Buy now £22.50, Superdry
M&S Kids Camo Water Repellent School Backpack
The squared-off shape of this rucksack makes carting A4 books and folders around nice and easy, and we love the camo design with contrasting orange accents. It has one main compartment with a separate internal folder pocket, a bottle holder, plus a flat, zipped pocket at the front. The padded straps are curved to fit neatly around the body and give better weight distribution, although the padding on the back panel of the bag itself is minimal.
What’s great about this one is the water repellent finish of the fabric, which will keep the contents inside protected from showers. It’s machine-washable, too, so you can keep it looking fresh throughout the school year.
Buy now £20.00, M&S
Smiggle Better Together Book Bag
If you’ve got primary-aged kids, you’ll know that Smiggle is a big deal, and we love the new Better Together book bags. There are five designs to choose from - our top pick is black mix option that’s covered in colourful, smiley rainbows.
The bag has a name label on the back, an easy Velcro opening, and a carry handle – although no shoulder strap option, which we would have liked. Still, book bags are much more difficult to find in the shops than backpacks and rucksacks, so we’re pleased to find some new options for young children with such cute designs.
Buy now £12.00, Smiggle
Fjallraven Kanken Laptop 13’’
If you want a bag that’s going to last, Fjallraven’s instantly recognisable Kanken bags are a great option. They’re expensive, yes, but the timeless design means they’re not going to go out of fashion, and they’re made from durable, water repellent fabric that’s built to last.
The Kanken Laptop bag is a twist on the classic Kanken, and the smallest size fits a 13-inch laptop with just enough space for books and a pencil case too. We found the side pockets just a little too small for a water bottle, but the bag is also available in 15-inch and 17-inch sizes if your child has a fair bit to carry around. There are 14 muted colours to choose from, including a simple black and the latest addition – Foliage Green.
Buy now £88.95, Amazon
SchoolBag Buy One Fund One
School in a Bag is an educational charity based in Somerset that sends SchoolBags filled with educational resources and eating utensils to disadvantaged children around the world. When you choose one of their Buy One Fund One bags, you get a black Endeavour backpack from Quadra Bags for your own child, and they’ll send a SchoolBag out on your behalf to a child who really needs it.
The Endeavour backpack you’ll receive is great for older kids, with lots of handy features like a dual-compartment design to separate their belongings, a laptop sleeve, mesh pocket and two water bottle holders. And when your SchoolBag is sent out, you get a tracking number to see where it ends up in the world – plus the knowledge that you’ve helped another child out.
Buy now £40.00, SchoolBag
Monsoon Supernova unicorn backpack
Little ones can bring some serious style to school with Monsoon’s new unicorn backpack. While it’s covered in iridescent unicorns and a rainbow of stars, the simple navy-blue base stops it from becoming garish. And the sequinned front pocket – complete with a giant unicorn that disappears when you flip the sequins the other way – is the perfect finishing touch.
We like the neat shape, which makes this big enough for A4 books and all the essentials, but not so big it would swamp a primary-age child. Two water bottle pockets are always handy, and we like the fact this is nice and lightweight, too. That’s until they put all their stuff in it, of course.
Buy now £25.00, Monsoon
JoJo Maman Bebe Lion Backpack
This mini backpack from JoJo Maman Bebe is designed for kids aged three and upwards. At just 26cm high, it’s not quite big enough for Reception, but it’s the perfect size to encourage them to be responsible for their own bits and bobs on their first day at nursery or preschool.
The backpack has one main compartment and a handy little lion-face pocket at the front, and doubles up as an adorable little lunch bag. The adjustable straps aren’t particularly padded, but as there’s not enough space to fill this with anything particularly heavy, there’ll be no complaints from your little one. We love the fact the bold yellow colour stands out in a crowd, and you can have the bag personalised for an extra £5.
Buy now £18.00, JoJo Maman Bebe
The Cambridge Satchel Co 13-inch Satchel
If you’re looking to splash some cash on an investment purchase for an older child, a leather satchel will last them well past their school years and into adulthood. We love the classic look of The Cambridge Satchel Co’s 13-inch satchel in vintage tan brown, which won’t date or go out of fashion. The bag itself is incredibly robust, crafted in the UK from thick leather and finished with convenient magnetic closures.
There’s a small front pocket as well as the main compartment, and you can upgrade to the 15-inch design to better carry coursework or an electronic notebook. You can even get it embossed with your child’s initials if you want to add an element of personalisation or give it as a very special gift.
Buy now £190.00, The Cambridge Satchel Co
Ultimately Hype’s back-to-school bundle won our top spot – not only does it make life easier because you don’t have to shop for everything separately, but the school bag itself is a great all-rounder in a bold unisex design that we loved. If your child is talking a laptop to school regularly, though, it’s got to be Fjallraven’s Kanken Laptop – just make sure you choose the right size bag for your particular tech.
What type of bag is best for school? ›
- Messenger Bag. A messenger bag, also known as a courier bag is basically a large satchel worn over just one shoulder. ...
- Backpack. The backpack is perhaps the most common type of bag in the world. ...
- Laptop Bag. ...
- Duffel Bag. ...
- Clutch Bag.
And a cute snack container or if you pack your lunch have a small compact lunchbox that can fit inWhat should I put in my school bag Year 9? ›
- Backpack. The first thing to think about is the bag that they're going to carry everything in. ...
- Coloured pencils. ...
- Felt tip pens. ...
- Pencil case. ...
- Erasers. ...
- Drinks bottle. ...
- Backpack/laptop bag. ...
- Maths set.
Colour. Choose a colour that goes well with 90% of the clothes you own. Black and navy blue backpacks are safe colours if your wardrobe's colour scheme is white, grey, blue, and black. For those with a more adventurous palatte, you can go for backpack colours like maroon, red, or teal.When should I buy a new backpack? ›
Many things can happen in 2 years. If a backpack breaks after more than 2 years, it is an incident. A good company will fulfill its purpose of delivering high-quality products instead of cheap items. They will replace your product, even if you might have to go through a process.How do I arrange my school bag? ›
Make the most use of pockets and divisions in your school bag to keep distinct items separate. For example, keep your books in one area, your pencil case and related items in another section and your lunch in another. Place items such as your cell phone, money, ID card, house key, etc. in the pockets of the bag.How can I carry less things to school? ›
- Buy the Right Size. The most effective way to limit how much stuff your children carry is to limit the amount that they can carry. ...
- Weigh the Bag. ...
- Use Multiple Bags. ...
- Use Smaller Binders. ...
- Empty the Bag Regularly.
The most common items for middle school include pens, #2 pencils, notebooks, wide-rule loose leaf paper, a 3 ring binder, and scissors and tape. Other materials you may need include a USB flash drive, a TI calculator, index cards, a weekly planner, and a stapler.What should I bring to middle school? ›
- #2 Pencils.
- Pencil Sharpener.
However, in general, a backpack can be used for a few years at most, after which things start to fall apart." "It depends on many factors, first is the quality of the packaging and the amount of use. I have a large MacPac (90 liter capacity) that is almost 50 years old.
Do black backpacks get hotter? ›
But yes, a black pack will be hotter in the sun. Not just for your gear either, think of your food and drinking water.Will a white backpack get dirty? ›
I'm going to answer this question about anything white as a whole. Yes, the backpack is going to get dirty. You're going to carry your books in it. You're going to be tough with it.Is it better to travel with a backpack or suitcase? ›
If you fly to your destination and stay in the same hotel or resort for the duration of your trip, a suitcase is probably the most convenient option. If you plan to move around from place to place during your trip, a backpack will better suit you. For long trips, backpacks are usually the better choice.How often should you replace your school backpack? ›
How often you replace your school bag will depend on a number of factors ranging from the material used to manufacture your bag and its style, to the general wear and tear your bag will undergo. Some school bags might need to be replaced every year, whereas others might last you a good three to four years.How do I choose a kids backpack? ›
- Choose the right size. The biggest mistake we see? ...
- Find comfy straps. Make sure the shoulder straps are padded for comfort, and that they're not thin, narrow straps. ...
- Look for a sternum strap. ...
- Think burly. ...
- Watch the weight. ...
- Check out the zippers. ...
- Look for handy features.
Tote Bags. If you are looking for a stylish option that you can use just about everywhere, then you need a tote bag! A high quality canvas tote bag is sure to withstand the weight of your laptop and school supplies. Although they may not look as large as a backpack or messenger bag, they can sure fit a lot!Are duffle bags good for school? ›
This can be a popular style of bag for students who have a lot to carry. The cylindrical bag can hold more than school supplies. Duffle bags can also store extra clothes or some light gear for after-school sports.
Medium: 21 to 30 liters
A school backpack of 21 to 30 liters is suitable for this. This is the most common size for backpacks. The bags have enough space, but are not larger than necessary. Most school backpacks have several small pockets.
Definition of schoolbag
: a bag for carrying schoolbooks and school supplies.
They Are Long Lasting and Durable
Most tote bags are made to last, being able to withstand years of use if you take good care of them. Investing in a quality tote bag is a great choice if you want something that you know is not only made of quality materials, but will last you for years to come.
Do college students wear backpacks? ›
Backpacks are largely considered to be college necessities. Practically every college student uses a backpack to carry around classroom essentials, pack snacks and drinks, and bring along everyday items. Students rarely transport their school materials to class with just their hands.What is the use of a tote bag? ›
Tote bags are commonly used for carrying shopping. The tote bag's bigger size makes it perfect for transporting essentials and for providing a comfortable and reusable alternative to plastic shopping bags.What can I take instead of a backpack for school? ›
Anything But A Backpack Day Ideas
- Laundry Basket. Source: Wadsworth Bruin. ...
- Dog Crate. Source: Pinterest. ...
- Pillowcase. ...
- Bucket. ...
- Toy Car. ...
- Shopping Cart. ...
- Microwave. ...
Also known as a courier bag or bookbag, the messenger bag is a one-shoulder satchel type bag.
bag designs are considered: hand bag, shoulder bag, backpack, and rolling backpack. Figure 3 shows a virtual environment in Jack ® for a school and students with different percentiles. Students use different bag types to carry their books to schools. ...How long should a backpack last? ›
However, in general, a backpack can be used for a few years at most, after which things start to fall apart." "It depends on many factors, first is the quality of the packaging and the amount of use. I have a large MacPac (90 liter capacity) that is almost 50 years old.Should you put your child name on their backpack? ›
Label Items Discreetly
Avoid labeling jackets, backpacks, or other items on the outside, with the child's name or nickname prominently visible—especially because a child may not always be under the constant watch of an adult.
Research shows that, where possible, backpack weights should be less than 10% of the student's body weight. Schools and parents should work together to achieve this goal.How much does a school bag cost? ›
The price of School Bags products is between ₹300 - ₹350 per Piece during Sep '21 - Aug '22. These are indicative values based on popular product prices.What is a small bag called? ›
Micro bag (N.) [mahy-kroh] Smaller-than-palm-sized versions of regular handbags, usually with lots of hardware and details are called micro bags.
How heavy is the average school bag? ›
The average backpack is estimated between 12 and 20 pounds, or 15% to 30% of the students' body mass. Overbearing weight is linked to student back and neck strains as well as nerve damage in the neck and shoulders.